We recently took our daughter to her belated two-year checkup. As is customary at theses visits she was weighed and measured and we were asked to give details about her development.

Is she sleeping through the night?

Is she drinking multiple cups of milk?

Is she pooping daily?

But then the doctor did something wildly unconventional. She asked us an open-ended question. We were not prepared for an open-ended question. “What has Sage been saying?” the doctor wanted to know. My husband and I looked at each other. “Well,” he nodded. “Well, yes,” I nodded back. “So much,” he said. “So, sooo much,” I reiterated. And then we both drew one massive collective blank. We just stared at each other shaking our heads like we’d been sideswiped by an elephant.

My husband was the first to break the silence, “She’s been saying everything.”

“Yeah, everything.” I echoed “And stuff too.”

“Lots of stuff,” my husband confirmed and we both grabbed Sage and gave her a big hug just to show how proud we were of the “everything” and the “stuff” that she’s been saying.

When we left the office my husband and I stopped on the sidewalk.

“What was that?” he said

“I don’t know.” I responded. “We seemed like total morons. She’s going to think we are crappy parents.”

“And I really liked her.” My husband responded. “But we can’t go back there if she thinks we’re idiots.”

“We’ll we have to redeem ourselves at the next visit.” I said.

“Good call” my husband affirmed. “Next time we’ll show her.”

I spent the following few days thinking of ways to seem very smart at our next doctor’s visit. We could rehearse in advance like we were going on Jeopardy.  My husband could be Alex Trebek and I could be the contestant.

Alex: Tell me three phrases your child has uttered.

Me: What are: “I want boobies!” “Holly macaroni!” and “Get out!”

Alex: You win it all.

Me: Yay!

But that just seemed way too involved. We’d have to get buzzers and those fancy pens that allow you to write on screen and maybe even a podium. So I decided to start making a list. It would be a comprehensive collection of everything that Sage has been saying. I’d become a parental anthropologist. I’d log her every word, I’d capture it all. At our next appointment we’d be smart!

I began the list strait away.

List of Words and Phrases:

It’s Amazing

I want pancakes

I want fresh water

That sucks!

Sheesh Kapish

Where’s my keys

I wanna hold the keys

This is not the right key

This key does not fit


I wanna drive


I see the moon

You’re the best kind of mommy

Fuckin Christ

That’s funny bananas

Let’s sing

I wanna dance to Vogue

We could find out…

It’s beautiful

I see birds

Is that man makin’ a fool out outta me?

Watch your back

Grandma’s got two boobies

Daddy has no boobies

Where’s my notebook

I’m making a story

This is my game

Let’s play together

I want to be her friend

It was so much fun

Give me your wallet

Where’s the money

No thank you

Excuse me

Leave the door open

One for me, and one for you

But the more words and phrases that I wrote on the list, the more words and phrases I realized were missing from the list until the list just seemed endless and silly. And that’s when it dawned on me that my husband and I gave the only possible response to that doctor. Our child is saying “everything.”And even if the doctor had asked us a year ago when Sage only had a handful of words that same response would have been appropriate. And even when she was four- months-old and spoke solely in gestures and cries and subtle shifts that only we could understand it was  “everything” then too.

I put down the list and went to find my husband. “I don’t think were morons,” I said. “Just speechless parents.”